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OCBC allocates one-off payment to junior employees to cope with rising cost of living

OCBC Bank offers S$1,000 (US$743) to 4,600 junior staff in Singapore to tackle living costs. The payment is part of a one-off support for close to 14,000 OCBC employees globally.



SINGAPORE: OCBC Bank has announced plans to provide a one-time payment of S$1,000 (US$743) to 4,600 junior employees in Singapore to help them better cope with the rising-cost-of-living concerns.

This initiative, amounting to approximately S$9 million, aims to alleviate financial pressures faced by employees and is part of a broader effort to support nearly 14,000 junior staff members globally.

The bank made the announcement on Tuesday (20 Feb), emphasizing its commitment to the well-being of its workforce amidst economic challenges.

The initiative encompasses employees across various subsidiaries, including Bank of Singapore, OCBC Securities, and Great Eastern Holdings.

Approximately 40 percent of OCBC’s workforce in Singapore stands to benefit from this one-off payout, scheduled to be disbursed either in February or March.

Eligible recipients of the payment in Singapore include both new entrants to the workforce and unionized employees, reflecting OCBC’s inclusive approach to supporting its staff members.

The decision also aligns with recommendations put forth by Singapore’s National Wages Council in October 2023, urging companies to address the challenges posed by the country’s rising cost of living.

One of the recommendations endorsed by the government involved issuing a one-off assistance package, with greater emphasis placed on supporting employees in the lower- to middle-income brackets.

“For employees outside Singapore, the one-off support takes into consideration the respective local market conditions,” OCBC said.

In addition to the one-off payment, OCBC emphasizes its ongoing efforts to review employee compensation structures, ensuring that wages and variable payments remain equitable and reflective of both the bank’s performance and employees’ contributions.

Furthermore, the bank provides a range of resources, including articles, tools, virtual talks, and workshops conducted by in-house wealth advisors, aimed at empowering employees to navigate their finances effectively.

Ms Lee Hwee Boon, OCBC’s Head of Group Human Resources, expressed optimism about the impact of the one-time payment, acknowledging its significance in addressing immediate concerns about the cost of living.

“Beyond this, we recognise that the long-term solution is to empower colleagues to take charge of their own financial well-being – good financial planning can make a big difference amid inflationary pressures,” she said.

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I m quite sure, accountants, tax experts can correct me, OCBC disbursments qualify for Corp tax perks relief, and… these allowances are taxable as part of employee earnings, besdies drawing employer/employee CPF deductions.